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In this chapter, heterogeneity is explored in the context of the ventricular-subventricular zone, the largest stem cell niche in the mammalian brain. This niche generates up to 10,000 new neurons daily in adult mice and extends over a large spatial area with dorso-ventral and medio-lateral subdivisions. The stem cells of the ventricular-subventricular zone can be subdivided by their anatomical position and transcriptional profile, and the stem cell lineage can also be further subdivided into stages of pre- and post-natal quiescence and activation. Beyond the stem cells proper, additional differences exist in their interactions with other cellular constituents of the niche, including neurons, vasculature, and cerebrospinal fluid. These variations in stem cell potential and local interactions are discussed, as well as unanswered questions within this system.
p63 is a transcriptional regulator of ectodermal development that is required for basal cell proliferation and stem cell maintenance. p73 is a closely related p53 family member that is expressed in select p63-positive basal cells and can heterodimerize with p63. p73-/- mice lack multiciliated cells and have reduced numbers of basal epithelial cells in select tissues; however, the role of p73 in basal epithelial cells is unknown. Herein, we show that p73-deficient mice exhibit delayed wound healing despite morphologically normal-appearing skin. The delay in wound healing is accompanied by decreased proliferation and increased levels of biomarkers of the DNA damage response in basal keratinocytes at the epidermal wound edge. In wild-type mice, this same cell population exhibited increased p73 expression after wounding. Analyzing single-cell transcriptomic data, we found that p73 was expressed by epidermal and hair follicle stem cells, cell types required for wound healing. Moreover, we discovered that p73 isoforms expressed in the skin (ΔNp73) enhance p63-mediated expression of keratinocyte genes during cellular reprogramming from a mesenchymal to basal keratinocyte-like cell. We identified a set of 44 genes directly or indirectly regulated by ΔNp73 that are involved in skin development, cell junctions, cornification, proliferation, and wound healing. Our results establish a role for p73 in cutaneous wound healing through regulation of basal keratinocyte function.
Whether patients with glioblastoma that contacts the ventricular-subventricular zone stem cell niche (VSVZ + GBM) have a distinct survival profile from VSVZ - GBM patients independent of other known predictors or molecular profiles is unclear. Using multivariate Cox analysis to adjust survival for widely-accepted predictors, hazard ratios (HRs) for overall (OS) and progression free (PFS) survival between VSVZ + GBM and VSVZ - GBM patients were calculated in 170 single-institution patients and 254 patients included in both The Cancer Genome (TCGA) and Imaging (TCIA) atlases. An adjusted, multivariable analysis revealed that VSVZ contact was independently associated with decreased survival in both datasets. TCGA molecular data analyses revealed that VSVZ contact by GBM was independent of mutational, DNA methylation, gene expression, and protein expression signatures in the bulk tumor. Therefore, while survival of GBM patients is independently stratified by VSVZ contact, with VSVZ + GBM patients displaying a poor prognosis, the VSVZ + GBMs do not possess a distinct molecular signature at the bulk sample level. Focused examination of the interplay between the VSVZ microenvironment and subsets of GBM cells proximal to this region is warranted.
Stem cells reside in a niche, a local environment whose cellular and molecular complexity is still being elucidated. In ovaries, germline stem cells depend on cap cells for self-renewing signals and physical attachment. Germline stem cells also contact the anterior escort cells, and here we report that anterior escort cells are absolutely required for germline stem cell maintenance. When escort cells die from impaired Wnt signaling or expression, the loss of anterior escort cells causes loss of germline stem cells. Anterior escort cells function as an integral niche component by promoting DE-cadherin anchorage and by transiently expressing the Dpp ligand to promote full-strength BMP signaling in germline stem cells. Anterior escort cells are maintained by Wnt6 ligands produced by cap cells; without Wnt6 signaling, anterior escort cells die leaving vacancies in the niche, leading to loss of germline stem cells. Our data identify anterior escort cells as constituents of the germline stem cell niche, maintained by a cap cell-produced Wnt6 survival signal.
© 2018. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
Increasing evidence indicates that the adult neurogenic niche of the ventricular-subventricular zone (V-SVZ), beyond serving as a potential site of origin, affects the outcome of malignant brain cancers. Glioma contact with this niche predicts worse prognosis, suggesting a supportive role for the V-SVZ environment in tumor initiation or progression. In this review, we describe unique components of the V-SVZ that may permit or promote tumor growth within the region. Cell-cell interactions, soluble factors, and extracellular matrix composition are discussed, and the role of the niche in future therapies is explored. The purpose of this review is to highlight niche intrinsic factors that may promote or support malignant cell growth and maintenance, and point out how we might leverage these features to improve patient outcome.
Copyright © 2018 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Paneth cells (PCs), a secretory population located at the base of the intestinal crypt, support the intestinal stem cells (ISC) with growth factors and participate in innate immunity by releasing antimicrobial peptides, including lysozyme and defensins. PC dysfunction is associated with disorders such as Crohn's disease and necrotizing enterocolitis, but the specific pathways regulating PC development and function are not fully understood. Here we tested the role of the neuregulin receptor ErbB3 in control of PC differentiation and the ISC niche. Intestinal epithelial ErbB3 knockout caused precocious appearance of PCs as early as postnatal day 7, and substantially increased the number of mature PCs in adult mouse ileum. ErbB3 loss had no effect on other secretory lineages, but increased expression of the ISC marker Lgr5. ErbB3-null intestines had elevated levels of the Atoh1 transcription factor, which is required for secretory fate determination, while Atoh1 cells had reduced ErbB3, suggesting reciprocal negative regulation. ErbB3-null intestinal progenitor cells showed reduced activation of the PI3K-Akt and ERK MAPK pathways. Inhibiting these pathways in HT29 cells increased levels of ATOH1 and the PC marker LYZ. Conversely, ErbB3 activation suppressed LYZ and ATOH1 in a PI3K-dependent manner. Expansion of the PC compartment in ErbB3-null intestines was accompanied with elevated ER stress and inflammation markers, raising the possibility that negative regulation of PCs by ErbB3 is necessary to maintain homeostasis. Taken together, our data suggest that ErbB3 restricts PC numbers through PI3K-mediated suppression of Atoh1 levels leading to inhibition of PC differentiation, with important implications for regulation of the ISC niche.
Although intestinal homeostasis is maintained by intestinal stem cells (ISCs), regeneration is impaired upon aging. Here, we first uncover changes in intestinal architecture, cell number, and cell composition upon aging. Second, we identify a decline in the regenerative capacity of ISCs upon aging because of a decline in canonical Wnt signaling in ISCs. Changes in expression of Wnts are found in stem cells themselves and in their niche, including Paneth cells and mesenchyme. Third, reactivating canonical Wnt signaling enhances the function of both murine and human ISCs and, thus, ameliorates aging-associated phenotypes of ISCs in an organoid assay. Our data demonstrate a role for impaired Wnt signaling in physiological aging of ISCs and further identify potential therapeutic avenues to improve ISC regenerative potential upon aging.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Although endothelial cells have been shown to affect mouse pancreatic development, their precise function in human development remains unclear. Using a coculture system containing human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived progenitors and endothelial cells, we found that endothelial cells play a stage-dependent role in pancreatic development, in which they maintain pancreatic progenitor (PP) self-renewal and impair further differentiation into hormone-expressing cells. The mechanistic studies suggest that the endothelial cells act through the secretion of EGFL7. Consistently, endothelial overexpression of EGFL7 in vivo using a transgenic mouse model resulted in an increase of PP proliferation rate and a decrease of differentiation toward endocrine cells. These studies not only identified the role of EGFL7 as the molecular handle involved in the crosstalk between endothelium and pancreatic epithelium, but also provide a paradigm for using hESC stepwise differentiation to dissect the stage-dependent roles of signals controlling organogenesis.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Ligand-based signaling can potentiate communication between neighboring cells and between cells separated by large distances. In the Drosophila melanogaster ovary, Wingless (Wg) promotes proliferation of follicle stem cells located ~50 µm or five cell diameters away from the Wg source. How Wg traverses this distance is unclear. We find that this long-range signaling requires Division abnormally delayed (Dally)-like (Dlp), a glypican known to extend the range of Wg ligand in the wing disc by binding Wg. Dlp-mediated spreading of Wg to follicle stem cells is opposed by the extracellular protease Mmp2, which cleaved Dlp in cell culture, triggering its relocalization such that Dlp no longer contacted Wg protein. Mmp2-deficient ovaries displayed increased Wg distribution, activity, and stem cell proliferation. Mmp2 protein is expressed in the same cells that produce Wg; thus, niche cells produce both a long-range stem cell proliferation factor and a negative regulator of its spreading. This system could allow for spatial control of Wg signaling to targets at different distances from the source.
© 2014 Wang and Page-McCaw.
Cardiac tissue undergoes renewal with low rates. Although resident stem cell populations have been identified to support cardiomyocyte turnover, the source of the cardiac stem cells and their niche remain elusive. Using Cre/Lox-based cell lineage tracing strategies, we discovered that labeling of endothelial cells in the adult heart yields progeny that have cardiac stem cell characteristics and express Gata4 and Sca1. Endothelial-derived cardiac progenitor cells were localized in the arterial coronary walls with quiescent and proliferative cells in the media and adventitia layers, respectively. Within the myocardium, we identified labeled cardiomyocytes organized in clusters of single-cell origin. Pulse-chase experiments showed that generation of individual clusters was rapid but confined to specific regions of the heart, primarily in the right anterior and left posterior ventricular walls and the junctions between the two ventricles. Our data demonstrate that endothelial cells are an intrinsic component of the cardiac renewal process.
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.